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it from happening again. mr. tonko: sure. absolutely. you know, the impact of sandy, representative garamendi, comes on the heels of last year's storm with irene and lee. a double whammy. that impacted several counties that i represent. and upstate new york was devastated. it was the loss of life, of lives. there was destruction to the public infrastructure, many businesses, farms and housing were destroyed. tremendously so. and the need to rebuild became very apparent. this year with sandy, the same sort of impact, this time in a very densely populated region of new york city, long island, and the southern portions of new york state. and so i think it's a stark reminder, a very real example, a very painful outcome that speaks to the need of investing, investing in our infrastructure. and so as we go forward there's also an opportunity to improve upon what existed at the time of these storms. for instance, in the energy networks, utility networks, we can do state of the art. we have taught other nations how to build those systems. it's time to do nation building at home. and i think
speaker, the sandy hook elementary school tragedy is sparking a national debate about how and why this happened and how it might have been prevented. that debate is understandable and needs to happen. in the coming weeks, congress will be called on to react. questions have already arisen about guns and school safety and emergency preparedness. but these concerns and debates may bypass altogether some of the deeper, more difficult issues involved like what we grappled with after the tragic shootings of young people at columbine high school and on the virginia tech campus. what we must do, what we must do is to be honest. yes, there were guns involved, yes there are issues of school safety. and yes there was a collapse of mental health intervention. but i have not heard a significant discussion of the broader cultural context in which this and other tragedies have happened. all of these tragedies happened against a backdrop of a culture that increasingly devalues and degrades human life. graphic acts of violence and inhumanity pervade popular culture, entertainment and other venues
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